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Negotiating Tribal Water Rights: Fulfilling Promises in the Arid West
by Bonnie G. Colby, John E. Thorson and Sarah Britton
foreword by David H. Getches
University of Arizona Press, 2005
eISBN: 978-0-8165-3649-8 | Paper: 978-0-8165-2455-6
Library of Congress Classification KF8210.N37C65 2005
Dewey Decimal Classification 346.730432


Water conflicts plague every river in the West, with the thorniest dilemmas found in the many basins with Indian reservations and reserved water rights—rights usually senior to all others in over-appropriated rivers. Negotiations and litigation over tribal water rights shape the future of both Indian and non-Indian communities throughout the region, and intense competition for limited water supplies has increased pressure to address tribal water claims.

Much has been written about Indian water rights; for the many tribal and non-Indian stakeholders who rely upon western water, this book now offers practical guidance on how to negotiate them. By providing a comprehensive synthesis of western water issues, tribal water disputes, and alternative approaches to dispute resolution, it offers a valuable sourcebook for all—tribal councils, legislators, water professionals, attorneys—who need a basic understanding of the complexities of the situation.

The book reviews the history, current status, and case law related to western water while revealing strategies for addressing water conflicts among tribes, cities, farms, environmentalists, and public agencies. Drawing insights from the process, structure, and implementation of water rights settlements currently under negotiation or already agreed to, it presents a detailed analysis of how these cases evolve over time. It also provides a wide range of contextual materials, from the nuts and bolts of a Freedom of Information Act request to the hydrology of irrigation. It also includes contributed essays by expert authors on special topics, as well as interviews with key individuals active in water management and tribal water cases.

As stakeholders continue to battle over rights to water, this book clearly addresses the place of Native rights in the conflict. Negotiating Tribal Water Rights offers an unsurpassed introduction to the ongoing challenges these claims present to western water management while demonstrating the innovative approaches that states, tribes, and the federal government have taken to fulfill them while mitigating harm to both non-Indians and the environment.

See other books on: Britton, Sarah | Claims | Colby, Bonnie G. | Getches, David H. | Water rights
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